Rising prices factor in record 2020 real estate numbers

Sarnia Lambton Real Estate Board office of Exmouth Street. (BlackburnNews photo)

The Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board recorded its best year on record in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic.

Board President Rob Longo said sales volume surpassed $700 million.

“We did hit $731 million last year in total sales, which was over $100 million higher than the year before, so a record for us,” said Longo.

“A lot of that is attributed to two factors. One, we have seen quite a bit of an increase in pricing overall in Sarnia-Lambton. We were up almost 20 per cent last year, year-over-year, so a lot of that will account for that volume increase and also we did see a lot of people coming to town from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), Kitchener-Waterloo, London areas, looking to downsize or looking for smaller town life.”

Longo is expecting 2021 sales to be just as strong.

“All the predictions are looking like it’s going to be a good year in terms of sales and in terms of price increases, so, there’s been a lot of confidence in the Sarnia-Lambton market, so we think it will be a positive upswing in home values again for the next year.”

He said historically low interest rates also continue to be a driving factor in sales.

“That obviously helps with affordability as prices go up and interest rates are going down, that’s helping to offset each other for people that are looking to get into the market as first-time buyers, or looking to change, upsize, downsize, things like that.”

He said inventory is very low with only about 80 homes on the market right now in Sarnia-Lambton, which is adding extra pressure for essential sales and purchases allowed during the second lockdown.

“As we did the first time around, we are taking the proper precautions,” said Longo. “I think the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board really did well to lead the way for a lot of realtors in Ontario into how they did business, and I think we did it very safely and very well to still serve our clients and customers out there. There always is a certain segment of the population that has to move, or someone that has to sell or buy a house, for one reason or the other, so that’s going to continue on through those essential sales.”

Court-mandated sales due to separations or divorce, estate sales already in progress, or sales due to job loss, job transfer, foreclosure or bankruptcy are still being facilitated.

Buyers who previously sold their home and need to purchase a new one will also be accommodated, while others will be urged to wait until the lockdown is over.

The total number of properties that sold in 2020 was up only 2.7 per cent at 1,893.

The average sale price for the year was $403,620 compared to $336,651 in 2019, an increase of 19.89 per cent over 2019.